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Like all wines from the Soave DOC, this 2018 Adalia Singan is primarily made from the the Garganega grape, with the addition of other varietals, including the native Trebbiano di Soave. The vines are trellised in the pergola trentina fashion, allowing a canopy of leaves to soak up the maximum amount of sunlight while the fruit hangs shaded below. Vineyards are located 250 meters above sea level to calcareous soils. Fruit is picked by hand at the end of September before being destemmed and gently pressed. Fermented naturally, including a short time on the skins. Aged in stainless steel before bottling. The nose shows breezy aromas of grass, sea salt, apple, almond and apricot skins. On the palate, there are halved and grilled lemons, salt, orchard fruit, and a touch of tender brioche. David Hatzopoulos
Pecorino from guyot trained vines planted to clay and limestone soils in the region of Atri in Abruzzo. Harvest is done by hand in the middle of September. In the cellar, primary fermentation is spontaneous in stainless steel tanks before malo occurs. The wine is not filtered and is aged in bottle for 10-12 months before leaving the winery. The wine has a beautiful color, displaying a yellow-gold perimeter around a clear-gold center. Aromas of candied lemon, tangerine peel, clove and thinly shaved Parmesan on the nose. Flavors are of lemon, limestone, a medley of bitter herbs, and salt. Like the 2018 Trebbiano from Ausonia, this Pecorino has extremely compelling acidity that hits a high caliber without stressing the palate. Here, there is a little bit of tannic structure as well, completing the wine's mouthfeel in a satisfying form. David Hatzopoulos
Trebbiano d'Abruzzo from clay and limestone soils, grown in vineyards using traditional pergola abruzzese canopy trellising. Fruit is picked by hand at the end of September. Natural fermentation occurs in steel tanks, followed by secondary fermentation. The wine is unfiltered and ages in bottle 10-12 months before release. The wine's color is a clear yellow. Typically I discuss the aromas of a wine before the flavors and mouthfeel, but this Trebbiano had such incredible verve on the back of the tongue, I can't help but go into it first. A shock, a zing, a powerful mix of acidity and tart lemony fruit that hits immediately. Along with the brazen lemon, there are flavors of firm yellow apple and green herbs. So incredibly satisfying. The nose displays dried apricot, spiced pear, and raw Earl Grey tea. Much more subtle than the activity on the palate. I also don't typically suggest serving a white wine very, very cold, but pour yourself a glass when right out of the fridge. It's delicious at all temps. David Hatzopoulos
This frizzante is 100% Ortrugo. A grape once used mostly as a blending companion to the more fancied Malvasia, it is known for articulated acidity, thus making it a perfect foundation for sparkling and semi-sparkling wines. In recent years, it has come out of the shadows and is frequently used for single-varietal wines, mostly coming from the region of Colli Piacentini in Emilia-Romagna, known for its limestone soil. The Bulli Ortrugo begins with vines of 10-50 years of age. Guyot trained. The grapes are picked in September and October. Native yeasts are used to ferment the wine dry, and after waiting over the winter months, grape must from the autumn harvest is added to induce secondary fermentation. This, of course, gives the wine a sparkle. Like all wines from Bulli, it sees no added SO2. When first poured, before getting air, the nose is crushed and chalky limestone. Released soon after are aromas of savory/sweet Jordan almonds, nectarines and blossoms, along with a trace of that original, almost smokey, minerality. The palate is salty, with flavors of firm pear, sage, and a very long, dry finish of fresh lemon zest. The color is that of homemade lemon-water. Contrary to what is said about Ortrugo, I didn't find this wine incredibly high in acid. Well balanced flavors and structure here. Paired very well with Friday night sushi. David Hatzopoulos
Vernaccia di San Gimignano is not a very aromatic grape, but the Selva Bianca has very appealing notes of lime and chalk, and fresh green herbs like tarragon – a nice combo of delicate fruit and savory aromas. These follow on the palate with quite intense savory salinity; the wine is very clean and bright and fresh. If anything it was better – more complex, for one thing - on subsequent days, and it went beautifully with a range of vegetable-based dishes, including an attempt at Gigino Trattoria’s unique and delcious “Padrino” – spaghetti with beets, capers, and colatura. Jamie Wolff
Carricante and Grecanico Dorato, fermented in epoxy tanks with indigenous yeasts, with about 4 days of skin contact. Not really an orange wine, but this gives the wine some structure and texture without losing the strong sense of place, via the intense volcanic stone aromas and flavors, to which are added pear, honey, and black tea. A great and very versatile food wine. Jamie Wolff
The 2018 COS Pithos Bianco is 100% Grecanico from the producer's Fontane Vineyard, located 230 meters above sea level. Vines, averaging 12 years old, are planted to sandy soils of limestone and silica. The fruit is picked by hand before 10 to 15 days of fermentation by indigenous yeast. The skins remain in contact with the wine for seven months in amphora.
Guilio Armani (yes that is his real name) has been making fascinating skin contact wines for decades. In some ways, he was ahead of his times, as the Denavolo wines were mostly misunderstood and celebrated by a very small group of obsessed wine drinkers until the “orange wine” fad hit in the last 5 years. A blend of 25% Malavasia di Candia Aromatica, 25% Marsanne, 25% Ortugo, 25% mystery grapes, macerated on the skins for 10 months. Peculiar, aromatic and high-toned. A great introduction to northern Italian skin contact wines.
The clear bottle reveals the wine's color - a roasted yellow, like over steeped chamomile tea. From the glass, the wine smells like a mix of green and black teas with sliced pear and chopped raw almonds. Served at a picnic with salami, mortadella, cheeses and cut vegetables, the wine's flavors of crushed quince and apple, with hints of sherry and green herbs, hit the mark. Easy drinking but still really interesting. Delicious, most importantly. David Hatzopoulos
Another rare wine in the world of Prosecco – a true natural wine, certified organic, made without sulphur, refermented in bottle and aged on the lees. What you get is Prosecco with real character and rich flavor. It’s aromatically bright with lemon notes, and in the mouth is bone dry with refreshing green apple, savory and stony, and great with food with its charming very slightly bitter and fresh finish. A wine that way out-performs at the price. Jamie Wolff
From a single vineyard at 900 meters up the eastern slope of Mount Etna, this white consists of mostly of the region's indigenous Carricante (90%), while the rest is split between grapes like Grecanico and Minella. The 1.6 hectares of vines (the oldest being 40 years of age) are farmed organically and planted/trained in the ancient Alberello Egeo system. The grapes are hand harvested in late September. The wine is fermented with native yeasts, and spends a year and a half in stainless. The nose displays the volcanic character of the wine, with hints of savory smoke balanced by clean orchard fruit and salinity. The palate has a bit of texture, with flavors of pear, lemon, salt and green herbs. David Hatzopoulos
This is a rare item: Clean, crisp dry Prosecco, made from organic fruit, indigenous yeasts, very low SO2. This is a wine that will please everyone – your inner wine geek, and your (here please fill in the blank for your friend or relative who pays no attention to the details but will guzzle it down and ask for more). An amazing value! Jamie Wolff
Passerina is a grape that I have little experience with beyond the wines of La Visciola in Lazio, which is a real shame given the depth of flavor a lifted texture the wines show. An obscure variety native to Lazio (and possibly distinct from a grape also named Passerina that grows along Italy’s Adriatic coast). The 2015 shows a more lifted character than the 2014. The nose is fairly tight on opening, giving notes of tart apple and pear leading into thyme and white flowers after a few minutes in the glass. Medium body with a soft texture and crisp acidity, the flavors show more candied lemon peel, green apple, and tart pear. Try it with grilled fish, potato or white pizza, soft cheese, or cured pork. Andy Paynter
Lamoscata 2017 is the first wine that Mongioia has made in anfora – in this case ceramic, so not very porous, with a very small exchange of oxygen – this is not Georgian-style wine. Instead I think the anfora confers some extra texture and complexity. How else to explain this quite extraordinarily, crazy complex Moscato, like no other in its class? The nose is multi-dimensional, with intense rich peach and apricot, and hazelnut dominating. The wine is very clean and fresh on the palate, boosted with a hint of green apple and plenty of those stone fruits. They carry through to a very long and lingering finish that seems to be supported and freshened by citrusy, icy spring water. A wild wine – a must try. Jamie Wolff
In the Moscato d’Asti zone, farming is driven by volume over quality – almost all the wine made there is from industrial agriculture and industrial winemaking, which is why Moscato is usually cheap wine in every regard. The fruit for Belb comes from edenic hillside vineyards where chemicals have never been used. The winemaking matches the farming. The result is one in a million (think Moscato from Bera, the best possible alternate to Belb) – a focused wine, fresh and clean, with deep layers showing classic Moscato attributes like apricot and pear, delicate floral hints and nutty flavors. Belb is relatively low in residual sugar so it tastes fruity rather than cloying. We sell a lot of Belb to people looking for Barefoot or one of the other brands; despite the relatively high price they come back for more, converted. Jamie Wolff
Made from organically farmed Carricante grapes from a single vineyard inside the crater that sits towards the top Monte Rosso. The vines here average 70 years old. The ‘18 Crater is more substantial in flavor and weight than their Carricante released in 2017. On the nose, there are essences of smoke, light spices, lemon peel, and tea leaves. The palate is muscular, with a depth of lemon, pear, apricot and pepper flavors. David Hatzopoulos
From organically sourced grapes, this white is 100% Carricante from the lower elevations at Mount Etna's base. The nose is subtle and pretty, with hints of cured lemon, green herbs, and wisps of white flowers. The palate is complex and layered with notes of salty yellow citrus and fresh grass. David Hatzopoulos
From the eastern facing, sandy slopes of the Grillo della Timpa Sicilia DOC, Fuedo Montoni delivers a refreshing but complex wine. 30 year old vines, planted at 700 meters above sea level, and handled under certified organic methods. Fermentation happens in cement, and for a portion of that time, the juice is in contact with the grape skins. The wine then ages in cement, in contact with the lees, for 6 months. The result is a complex, but utterly fresh glass of white. The color is clean lemon. The nose offers aromas of golden apple, pear, apricot and white flowers. Flavors are of dried lemon, green herbs, lime zest, salt and white pepper. The skin maceration definitely gives the wine a touch of tannic stability, like banisters to the wine's highly angled, persistent acidity. Really enjoyable wine that wakes up the palate. David Hatzopoulos
Orto di Venezia is a striking wine grown on the island of San Erasmo within the lagoon of Venice. Based on Malvasia Istriana but comprised of a number of other local cultivars all planted on its own root stock, the wine is deeply colored in the glass, with a nose reminiscent of ripe golden apples and honeysuckle undercut by a salty tone. The palate is bold, with an initial attack of juicy orchard fruit and rich texture, followed by a honeyed note giving way to a long savory finish. More than anything else, Orto shows a stern backbone of minerality bracing its mellow acidity and weight on the palate. I served it with shrimp cooked with their own stock and butter, but this wine would pair beautifully with anything out of the sea, soft cheese, or rich vegetable dishes. Open early and serve slightly chilled. Andy Paynter
Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier and Manzoni froma small .6 hectare parcel above the town of Bolzano. The vines are only 10 years old, but are already producing a beautiful, textured white wine, that is both weighty and elegant. Quite floral on the nose, the palate shows notes of white blossom, ripe citrus, apricot, honey, and crushed vitamin candies. Decant before serving, or age for another few years. Oskar Kostecki
Ferdinando Principiano's Timorasso is one of the most fascinating examples of the grape we have encountered. While some expressions of Timorasso can be a bit heavy-handed and blowsy, this one is extremely lithe and charming. Coming in at only 11.2% ABV, it is still very mouth-filling and expressive. The nose opens with beautiful notes of citrus and stone fruit, white flowers, honeysuckle and a slight herbal character. While the nose smells quite rich, the palate is very finely chiselled and holds a lot of tension, with great acidity. Even more citrus on the palate (lemon and lime) with an introduction of crisp green apple, and even more of an herbal quality (tarragon). A supremely satisfying wine. Oskar Kostecki
“Normally” I would have tasted the Radikon wines in Italy, in the spring… The quantities shown are all that’s available at present, so I haven't taken any. Radikon is a pioneer in Italy of extended skin-contact white wine – orange wine, that is (and a pioneer in making great wine with zero added sulfur). These are the best of their type - very consistent, fascinating wines, with finesse. Unlike so many imitators, Radikon wines have both a sense of place, and are clear expressions of their grape varieties. Jamie Wolff PS "Jakot" is what used to be called Tokaj Friulano, and is now officially called Friulano...
“Normally” I would have tasted the Radikon wines in Italy, in the spring… The quantities shown are all that’s available at present, so I haven't taken any. Radikon is a pioneer in Italy of extended skin-contact white wine – orange wine, that is (and a pioneer in making great wine with zero added sulfur). These are the best of their type - very consistent, fascinating wines, with finesse. Unlike so many imitators, Radikon wines have both a sense of place, and are clear expressions of their grape varieties. Jamie Wolff
PS "Jakot" is what used to be called Tokaj Friulano, and is now officially called Friulano...
A blend of Pignoletto, also known as Grechetto Gentile, and Trebbiano, from organically farmed grapes. Bottled after halting fermentation, allowing carbonation to develop within the bottle. It is not disgorged, and is cellar aged for 15 months before release. In the glass, the color is a silvery lemon. On the nose, there are rich floral aromas, ripe lemon fruit, and sliced apricots. Like the TerraQuilia reds, this sparkling white is a touch herbaceous, balancing a faint bitterness on the edge of zingy lemon fruit and dried stone fruit. The palate has a bright core, but a softness in surrounding texture, creating a very compelling mouthfeel. Highly drinkable, but full of character. David Hatzopoulos
A field blend of hand harvested grapes, grown organically on the north side of Mount Etna. A portion of the grapes were macerated on the skins, while the rest were pressed and put into stainless steel tanks. Anna Martens and Eric Narioo began making wine together more than a decade ago, and now own vines that range between 60 and 100 years of age. Always full of character.